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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Buy Nothing Day

There's nothing like an economic crisis to get us thinking about our spending. Reports on retail sales indicate many people are cutting back on spending. Wal-Mart and Costco are still making good profits, so it seems that the people who are shopping are inclined to hunt for bargains. The advertisements are getting thicker and rowdier in my newspaper and my mailbox. SALE! SALE! SALE! A Target commercial on TV has little children acting in a school Christmas pageant about going shopping.

As we approach the end of this Christian year and the beginning of the next with Advent, we find ourselves living in conflicting times. The standard calendar, the Christian calendar, the school calendar, and the shopping calendar are out of sync. Advent tells us to pause and reflect, awaiting what God will do. School tells us to burrow in and study, finish projects, and pull all-nighters. Shopping tells us that Christmas is the high festival of consumption, and we must offer sacrifices at the malls and department stores for a month in advance, especially on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Day.

In an effort to recover some sanity about this time of year, a variety of groups have renamed Black Friday as "Buy Nothing Day." Rather than get caught up in a feeding frenzy of shopping, they say to use this day for family time, doing things together, playing games, telling stories, serving others. An entry in the God's Politics Blog suggests using the day to make things rather than buy things. Give some thought to making a different use of the Friday after Thanksgiving.

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